(This blog post is part of the "5 New Ideas for Better Online Engagement with Investors" series. Read the previous related blog post on "Stages of the Investor Journey - and so what?" here.)
Investors are going through a journey with you. They are in different stages in the process of finding you, liking you, buying, and selling your shares.
How do you engage with them to help them make progress in their investor journey? Through your news.
Your news is probably the trigger investors need to move from one stage of the journey to the next.
They get your news through various sources of information, or touchpoints, which are mostly online. So, engaging with them online is the most effective way to reach most investors quickly.
But investors don't wake up in the morning and rush to your investor website to find your news. Sure, they're online - answering emails, browsing social media or reading online news. But they’re usually at their favourite touchpoints, not at your website. So just publishing news on your website is not good enough.
They will see your news at an online touchpoint they choose, at a time they choose. You don’t have any say in their choice of time or place.
Your job is simple then. All you have to do is be there, then - with the piece of news they need!
And once they see it, you need to get them to open/read it. Then make them like you so they take time to look further. Whether that’s through your website, emails, social media, blog, videos, webcasts, or other touchpoints.
There are so many touchpoints in today’s online world. Some of which you can control, some of which you can only influence. You need to make the most of those touchpoints you can control, and do your best to influence those you can't actually control.
Investors pick up your news through various online touchpoints.
How are you faring in these major online touchpoints under your control?
- Investor Website – A place where everything is about your company and you are totally in control. If you can bring investors here, you’ve got the best possible chance of getting your message through.
- Google Search Bar – This is the biggest online touchpoint in the world. How do you perform with your messages to your target audience?
- ASX Announcements – As an online touchpoint, not a PDF (more later on this). It is consumed online from many different third party websites - the ASX website, brokers, advisers, email alerts. How does it get their attention? Make them like you? Draw them to your website?
- Email Alerts - What happens in an internet minute? About 200 million emails are sent every minute. Far more activity than other big online touchpoints. To reach people here, you need their email address, and then have your email get through their clutter.
- Social Media Corporate Pages - More and more investors are engaging in social media. It's easy and it's free. Take the lead with your corporate page and posts.
- Annual Reports - Annual report documents are mainly consumed online. How does your Annual Report look and function on a screen or a phone? Downloading a large PDF blob is user-unfriendly.
Nowadays, even "normal" offline touchpoints, like conferences, AGMs, investor roadshows and individual meetings, are going online. Even when held in person, online touchpoints support them - announcements for the events, email invitations, social media promotions, online registration, and such.
Now that you know how online touchpoints deliver your news to move investors in their journey, what's next? As usual in this series, here are five suggestions:
1. Think of the ASX Announcement PDF as an online touchpoint.
How does your ASX Announcement template behave online? Because that's where it will mostly be read. Not just from the ASX website, but from the broker websites, third party sites, even from your own website. It will be presented online. Yet traditionally, because its a PDF, we think of it as a printed document. But its rarely actually printed.
Is the title compelling and attractive enough to convince people to click to open it? Do the links in it get automatically turned into hyperlinks by a browser? Do you promote a link to your investor website? Does the look of it help to make people "like" you? Does the key message get through "above the fold" - in the first half of the first page? Does it say what your business is, for people who don't know you? Is the main content summarised in the first few lines to attract people to read the full article?
You may even want to consider publishing it as an online report instead of a PDF, if it is large and important enough to benefit from the superior online presentation method.
2. Don't assume that publishing an announcement on the ASX platform reaches your investors.
The ASX platform is a big touchpoint and many announcements will be found there by many investors, through things like links from other sites, watchlists, etc. But it's not good enough to assume that will reach everybody who might be interested. You need to take responsibility for getting your ASX Announcements to all the other online touchpoints you can influence or control.
Some other touchpoints will need a format other than a PDF. YouTube needs video or audio. SlideShare needs slides. Twitter needs 140 characters. LinkedIn needs a personal/professional slant. Repurpose your message format to suit the touchpoint.
Maximise online touchpoints you can control, like your website.
3. Email is the big one, still - even though there are lots of annoying aspects to emails.
Take extra care with your Email Alert template. It needs to behave like a home page of a website because every email sent is a branding opportunity. The From address needs to clearly say who it's from to establish credibility (not from something like "admin").
The title of the email needs to sell the click to open the email. Would you rush to open an email that says "Appendix 3B"?. Once opened, an attractive look and feel will help the reader like you and want to click again. The announcement link needs to be clear and fast to load in a new tab (not a file download, that's unfriendly). Add into the template the key aspects of your business to remind them what you do, as well as a brief summary of the content of the announcement to sell the click on the announcement.
An analysis of investor website usage will tell you what pages investors are most interested in. Each email should also include links to those key web pages to draw the reader to pages you know they want to read. The branding in the email will trigger other questions in the readers' minds - for example, "I wonder what the share price is right now".
4. Capture email addresses from wherever you can.
If you can find and capture an email address of someone who is interested, then embrace them and communicate with them. Regularly, and forever. Until their email address dies or they unsubscribe. Provide a subscribe link in your ASX Announcement PDF template. Suggest it on your social media corporate pages.
A voluntary subscribe on your investor website is like gold. This is a person who actually wants to hear from you. Give your website visitors the most possible opportunities to decide to subscribe. They didn't go there to do that, so you need to sell them on the idea while they are there. Promote email alerts subscription strongly on your investor website. Explain the benefits and make it easy. It's one of the few calls-to-action on your investor website.
Manually upload ever investor who provides a business card - e.g., at a conference. Add in lists of registrants at your online events. Collect business cards. Get email addresses of shareholders from your registry, regularly, to keep adding in new shareholders. Over time, that process will also build a list of ex-shareholders in your email alerts list - some will hate you and unsubscribe, but others might be more likely to buy than a complete stranger.
5. The biggest online touchpoint in the world - the Google search bar.
How do you perform there? SEO is a big subject and will be the subject of another one of these posts later. But for now, here are some initial tips.
Understand your keywords. Use them over and over - in the titles and text of ASX Announcements, titles of web pages, on social media posts and comments, in the email templates, and in captions on your images. As well as in all the technical ways that your investor website supplier will suggest.
Make authoritative statements about the subject matter of your keywords. Google likes to quote an authority. Google will repay authority, consistency and repetition on keywords, by giving a higher ranking. Use a security certificate on your investor website to avoid being downgraded. Make sure your investor website is responsive and loads quickly, Google is watching.
Offline touchpoints need online touchpoints to support them.
Long story short
Online touchpoints cause investors to advance in the stages of their journey. Maximise the distribution of news to touchpoints you can control, such as your investor website, ASX Announcements and email alerts. Try to influence others you don't control. Use them all to pull visitors to your investor website.
This way you’ll be giving yourself the best chance of engaging with investors as they progress through their journey.
Over to you
Want to move your investors forward in their journey? You’ve come to the right team.
As online investor communications specialists, IRM understands how you can best support investors in their journey. We help around 170 clients with their online touchpoints – investor websites, news, social media, reports and investor tools.
Download our white paper on the Touchpoints here. You can also reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org or +61 2 8705 5444 for further assistance.